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Sam McKnight On Hair, Vogue and Princess Diana

Picture of Freire Barnes
Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 2 January 2017
We caught up with influential hairstylist, Sam McKnight during the install of his major exhibition Hair By Sam McKnight at Somerset House to talk about working in the fashion industry, creating Princess Diana’s famous slicked back look and why the 70s were the most stylish decade.

For the past four decades, Sam McKnight has created innumerable hair styles for fashion editorial, advertising campaigns and runway looks. His hands have performed miracles on many models, actors and even princesses’ barnets.

Sam McKnight puts the finishing touches to a display of mannequins highlighting his work for Chanel. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Sam McKnight puts the finishing touches to a display of mannequins highlighting his work for Chanel. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

More than a mere hairdresser, McKnight’s mastery of coiffuring has helped shape the image of Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista and Princess Diana.

 

Installation view of 'Hair by Sam McKnight'. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Installation view of ‘Hair by Sam McKnight’. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

In celebration of his success, Somerset House approached McKnight to discuss the possibility of an exhibition. Curated by Shonagh Marshall – who worked on ‘Isabella Blow, Fashion Galore’ – the exhibition is an experiential delight. 

Audiences can experience what happens backstage at a fashion show, explore a fantastic array of magazines, polaroids and photographs from McKnight’s personal archive and become immersed in installations of McKnight’s looks for Chanel and Vivienne Westwood.

Display of mannequins dressed in Vivienne Westwood at 'Hair by Sam McKnight'. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Display of mannequins dressed in Vivienne Westwood at ‘Hair by Sam McKnight’. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Installation view of 'Hair by Sam McKnight'. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Installation view of ‘Hair by Sam McKnight’. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Installation view of 'Hair by Sam McKnight'. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Installation view of ‘Hair by Sam McKnight’. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid

Hair By Sam McKnight is at Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA until March 12. And for the first time the galleries will stay open until 8pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as part of their LATES programme in partnership with The Outnet.